President Biden Signs Legislation to Restrict Chinese Companies from US Networks

U.S. President Joe Biden signed the “Secure Equipment Act” that prevents companies that are designated as national security threats, such as Huawei and ZTE, from receiving new equipment licenses from the United States. The legislation was approved by the Senate in late October unanimously and in early November by the House of Representatives on a 420-4 vote.

The timing of the legislation raised eyebrows as President Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a virtual summit next week. The two countries have been at odds over trade, human rights and military activities.

The new legislation requires the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to approve or even review new applications that poses a risk to national security. The FCC has approved more than 3,000 applications from Huawei since 2018. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the new legislation ensures companies like Huawei and ZTE can no longer insert tools into the US communications network.

The FCC designated three more Chinese companies in addition to Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security in March. These are Hytera Communications, Hikvision Digital Technology and Zhejiang Dahua Technology.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded to FCC’s moves saying the US was abusing national security and state power to suppress Chinese companies.

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